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Writing the Seductive First Sentence – Session is Full!

March 23, 2017 @ 10:30 am - 1:00 pm

Instructor: Laurie Stone
Cost: $45 Members | $50 Non-members
Thursday, March 23, 2017 | 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM

“A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” —Graham Greene, The End of the Affair (1951)

Where does a story start, and how does the first sentence suck the reader into the narrator’s world? What does it take to write sentences that function as mini-stories? We will work with this proposition: The story is not about what happened; it’s about what the narrator makes of what happened. We will consider how, even in a single sentence, narrators convey the impact on them of what they are describing—in other words the stakes for them in writing, why they care and why they hope the reader will care. We will look at the device of layering, where the narrator alternates three kinds of sentences: It happened; It reminded me of; It made me feel (know, understand, associate, etc.). Using layering techniques during the workshop, writers will produce a first sentence for a story as well as the first paragraph of that story. Everyone will have a chance to read their opening aloud and receive supportive feedback on their uses of craft elements.

Laurie Stone is author most recently of My Life as an Animal, Stories (Triquarterly Books, Northwestern University Press, October 2016). She was a longtime writer for the Village Voice, theater critic for The Nation, and critic-at-large on Fresh Air. She won the Nona Balakian prize in excellence in criticism from the National Book Critics Circle and has published numerous stories in such publications as Fence, Open City, Anderbo, Nanofiction, The Collagist, The Los Angeles Review, New Letters, Ms., TriQuarterly, Threepenny Review, Memorious, Creative Nonfiction, and St Petersburg Review. In 2005, she participated in “Novel: An Installation,” writing a book and living in a house designed by architects Salazar/Davis in the Flux Factory’s gallery space. She has frequently collaborated with composer Gordon Beeferman in text/music works. The world premier of their piece “You, the Weather, a Wolf” was presented in the 2016 season of the St. Urbans concerts. She is at work on The Love of Strangers, a collage of hybrid narratives. Her website is: lauriestonewriter.com.

This session is full.

To be placed on the waiting list, please send an email to programs@writerhouse.org 


March 23, 2017
10:30 am - 1:00 pm
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Sibley Johns


508 Dale Avenue
Charlottesville, 22902 United States
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